Roy Morgan reckons the unemployment rate is 16.8%.
The unemployment and under-employment rate they estimate to be 27.4%.
I hope they are right – because I reckon that number is far too low. Here is some research undertaken by Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman from the University of Chicago that estimates that only 37% of jobs in the US can be plausibly done from home.
Evaluating the economic impact of “social distancing” measures taken to arrest the spread of COVID-19 raises a number of fundamental questions about the modern economy: How many jobs can be performed at home? What share of total wages are paid to such jobs? How does the scope for working from home vary across cities or industries? To answer these questions, we classify the feasibility of working at home for all occupations and merge this classification with occupational employment counts for the United States. Our classification implies that 37 percent of U.S. jobs can plausibly be performed at home. We obtain our estimate by identifying job characteristics that clearly rule out the possibility of working entirely from home, neglecting many characteristics that would make working from home difficult.
That being the case – it is very likely that the unemployment rate (if it measured whether people were doing actual value-adding work – it doesn’t, but that is another debate) is much, much higher than either 16.8% or 27.4%.